Taking Lives (2004)

I do not watch many thrillers. If they are done well, however, I can enjoy them. Directed with imagination and vision thriller movies can be great suspense and some heavy drama. Yet if they are done poorly they can be tiresome, confusing, and present a lackluster experience which you wish were able to redeem for your time back.

As contradictory as it may seem Taking Lives is a bit of both.

Set in Canada the plot follows FBI detective Illeana Scott as she assist the Canadian police force in tracking down an elusive killer who has committed over twenty years’ worth of murders. Taking on the victim’s identity after each murder, while substitution the body for his own identity, the killer is both brutal and calculating signaling that his capture is not going to be easy. So when Illeana comes to Canada to help with the case and stirs up major clues which throws doubt on the killer’s identity, and exposes her by falling in lust with a suspect, the search becomes a tangled web of morally grey intrigue.

So the plot is nothing special, obviously. I have heard of these plots before and haven’t been impressed by even the more well-done ones. That being said it doesn’t mean this is a bad film, it just makes it average. There are some draw-backs and some positives which combine with the decent directing that manages to augment the excellent acting thus saving it from a bad review.

The positives: the soundtrack is exceptional. While some of the popular culture tracks feel a bit out of place they are appropriate. By this I mean they do not insist on lambasting their message to the audience; the sound matches the situation at hand and compliments the scenes in a non-sequester manner. Another positive is, as I said, the good job at directing. This is important because had the director not been able to capture the essence of the plot the thread would have been a jumbled mess of barely discernible facts and characters.

The negative: the movie tries too hard. While there is a sense of never knowing who is who and what may happen it is also predictable. As usual I was able to guess the twist about twenty minutes into the movie. Excluding this the writing is shoddy. While the dialogue between characters is good the way in which the whole plot was constructed makes it so that if you are not able to follow through with every instance of the plot at a break-neck speed then you will, rest assured, be left confused and unsatisfied during the last thirty minutes.

So in conclusion there are pros and cons. I am of the opinion that if you are looking for an interesting thriller you can do better. Still, this is not the worst thriller either so if you have nothing better to do and see it on NetFlixs or for cheap at Walmart I do not think it would be a grave mistake to pick it up and give it a go.


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